WASHINGTON – Sodium fluorescein is proving to be an excellent agent for helping to verify ureteral efflux during intraoperative cystoscopy, Dr. Jay Goldberg said at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Dr. Goldberg said he first read about the use of the dye as an alternative to indigo carmine, which is no longer available, in a study published in 2015; the study reported good results with a 10% preparation of sodium fluorescein administered at 0.25-1 mL intravenously during intraoperative cystoscopy (Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Mar;125:548-50).
Since then, he and his colleagues at Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, have been evaluating the use of 0.1 mL of 10% sodium fluorescein IV during cystoscopies performed at the end of gynecologic surgeries, measuring the time to visualization and the level of satisfaction with the dye.
Thus far, in more than 50 cases, the average time until colored ureteral jets were seen has been 4.3 minutes (a range of 2-6.8 minutes, consistent with the 2015 study). And according to questionnaires completed by each surgeon, the degree of certainty for visualizing the ureteral jets was improved with fluorescein (a rating of 5 on a 5-point scale, compared with 2.9 without the dye).
Compared with both indigo carmine and methylene blue, fluorescein was preferred, Dr. Goldberg reported, with surgeons citing quicker onset, better color contrast, cheaper cost, and fewer side effects.
“Given that it’s at least equivalent and probably better, and that it’s 50 times cheaper [than indigo carmine], even if indigo carmine comes back again, I’m certainly not going to be switching back,” Dr. Goldberg said during a seminar on cystoscopy after hysterectomy.
Intravenous sodium fluorescein is routinely used in ophthalmology in retinal angiography, at a dosage of 5 mL of 10% fluorescein, he said. The most common complications reported in the literature are nausea, vomiting, and flushing or rash (rates of 2.9%, 1.2%, and 0.5%, respectively, according to a 1991 report). None of their patients has experienced any complications, Dr. Goldberg said.
Methylene blue (50 mg IV over a period of 5 minutes) appears to have been a common go-to dye for gynecologic surgeons, along with pyridium (a 200-mg oral dose prior to surgery), ever since production of indigo carmine was discontinued because of a lack of raw material.
“But with methylene blue, it may take longer to see the blue urine efflux from the ureteral orifices,” Dr. Goldberg said. And with pyridium, “by the time cystoscopy is performed, the bladder will have already been stained orange, making it more difficult to see the same colored urine jets.”
“Sodium fluorescein is very quick in onset. I wait [to have it administered] until I am actually ready to insert the cystoscope,” he said.
And at 60 cents per dose, fluorescein is less expensive than methylene blue ($1.50) and significantly less expensive than indigo carmine ($30 a dose), he said.
Dr. Goldberg reported having no relevant financial conflicts.